What choices do we have in relating to life? What are the three positions to relate to life? Imagine life like a fast-flowing river, where you can see the white foam on top of the waves. In this fast flowing river, you have three choices.
The first alternative is trying to swim upstream in opposition to the flow of the river. The second alternative is trying to hold on to a static position in the river by grabbing on to a branch of a tree, which hangs down over the river. The third alternative is simply relaxing and allowing us to be carried by the flow of the river wherever it takes us.
The first alternative is a “no”-position in relation to life. The second alternative is an “I want…”-position in relation to life. The third alternative is a “yes”-position to life.
These choices mirror our basic relationship to life and bring up the fundamental question if life is a friend or an enemy, to say “yes” or “no” to life, to cooperate or fight with life.
1. The “No”-position
The “no”-position means to relate to life from a “no”-attitude. The “no”-attitude means to relate to life from our ego, from our separate ideas, desires, attitudes, dreams, illusions, ambitions, expectations and concepts about how we should be, about how other people should be and about how life should be.
The “no”-position is a defense and a separation towards life. The “no”-position means to resist the continuous flow and change of life. It is to separate ourselves from the joy and flow of life. The “no”-position is like closing the door from within so that life can not touch us.
The separate ego receives its strength and maintains its control through fight, judgments and comparison in terms of better or worse and higher or lower.
One of my course participants in a one-week course on the topic, “Yes and No to Life: Meditation, Relationships and Creativity,” exclaimed surprised when we did practical exercises about the “no”-attitude to life: “This is exactly how I have always related to life!” she said. She had not been aware that this had been her automatic way to react to herself, to other people and to life as a whole.
2. “I want”- position
The “I want”-position is an aspect of the “no”-position. It means that we only open our inner window towards life when there is something special that we want from life. In comparison with the “yes”-position – where we are open and available for life to give us what we really need – the “I want”-position is a state of desires, wishes, expectations and ambitions.
When life does not give us what we think that we need, we close our inner window with a disappointed and disillusioned feeling that life does not give us what we need. We close our inner window again without being open for the possibility that life may not give us what we think that we need, but that life gives us what we really need.
During Christmas 2008 when I wrote this article, a beloved friend of mine phoned me on Christmas Day. She told me that her boyfriend for many years had died during Christmas, and she wondered if we could meet and talk. Death is one of the most mysterious phenomenon in life that shatters all our ideas, desires and expectations. Death is basically a question of perspective: to see death from the perspective of the personality or to see death from the perspective of the soul. Death never seems to come at the right time and it always seems to come too early, but people die at the precise right time when the soul has learned what it came to learn and is ready to leave the body. After the phone call with my friend, I opened a healing channel with her and sent her love, understanding and nourishment until we met.
3. The “yes”-position
Our heart is the door to trust life. Our heart is the door to surrender to life. Our heart is the door to allow life to guide us. Opening our heart means to learn to say “yes” to life. It means to allow us to receive the support from Existence, which gives us exactly what we need in exactly the right moment with more creativity and ingenuity than we can ever imagine.
The “yes”-position means to relate to life through our inner being, through our authentic self, through the source of life within ourselves. The inner being is an inner space, an inner emptiness, where we can allow life to pass unhindered through us. The inner being is openness and availability to life.
I discussed the concept of Yes and No to Life with my precious friend of many years, Eric Rolf, an international course leader and personal consultant to John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Paul Simon and Carlos Santana. His simple and true comment was: “I usually tend to say yes to what life offers.”
The basic reason to all our problems and worry is our desperate effort to try to fit life with our own ideas, ambitions and expectations. The “yes”-position is a deep acceptance of the reality of the moment as it is, without wish that the moment should be different than it is and without will to change the moment in any way.
The “yes”-position means to accept and include both joy and sorrow, both light and darkness, both negative and positive experiences and both life and death. It is to be and relate to life in a deep harmony without expecting life to fit with our own ideas, expectations and ambitions.
The “yes”-position means that the part surrenders to the Whole in love, joy, acceptance and trust like the water drop surrenders to the ocean.
Exercise 1 â€“ Describe the “yes” and “no”-quality in one word. Take as a meditation to describe your own unique “yes” and “no”-quality with one single word. Begin this exercise by closing your eyes, turn your attention within yourself, and listen within to what words that your heart and intuition would like to describe your own “yes” and “no”-quality. Let these words come to you, without trying to force them. My own experience from courses is that people describe their own “yes” and “no”-quality in very different ways. To describe our own “yes”-quality in one word is also a way of describing the quality of our own unique and authentic inner being.
Exercise 2. Yes and No to Life â€“ Take as meditation to be continuously aware if you come from a “yes” or “no”-quality when you relate to yourself, to other people, to creativity and to life itself. Turn your attention within, and ask yourself the question: “Do I act from a “yes” or “no”-quality in this moment?” Be also aware of the difference in the sense of joy and inner satisfaction that these two ways of relating to life create.